There is the Wilson friend of Dr. House, the Wilson of tennis rackets, the Wilson that was 28th President of the USA and the Wilson midfielder of the 1974 Italian champion Lazio. But for us – if you mention the seventh most common surname in the United Kingdom – only one thing comes to mind: Wilson & Morgan, an independent label with a long and illustrious tradition behind which is that ultra-Venetian genius Fabio Rossi. We won’t repeat his story, because every year we are always embarrassed by the choice of what to review in front of their range of bottlings, so many intriguing goodies are on offer. Now, our psychologists have advised us not to self-castrate and enjoy life without limitations, so we take their word for it and this year we are taking no prisoners. One of us recently took part in an online tasting armed with a notebook and sacrificed himself to painstakingly write down the notes of all five malts. So are you ready for a barrage of W&Ms in three acts? We start with a 7-year-old Ben Nevis that has undergone a one-year finish in second fill Oloroso sherry cask, the entry level of the 2020 range. And we can already hear the spirit of Ben Nevis replying, “tell your sister she’s an entry level…”.
N: metallic as only Ben Nevis can be, and at first a little alcoholic on the nose. The aroma is rustic, not hiding its youth, with candied fruit and yeast at the start. After a while a sumptuous note of apricot and dried fruit emerges (Piedmont hazelnut: yes, really from Piedmont, anything against it?). Gradually the image of a panettone emerges: candied fruit, sweet and buttery dough and fresh sultanas. Orange peel (which Luca Chichizola reminds us is the typical brand of Ben Nevis) is always at the forefront, which combined with the metallic note reminds us of… a mechanical orange! A sexy nose, as Marina Del Puppo notes.
P: hot and almost blunt at first. Give it time. If you give it a moment to reflect, it rewards you by offering a certain coherence with the nose: more sultanas, dried orange, peach and apricot juice. A woodier dimension makes its way through, with sweet spices and a slightly astringent note on the finish. With a drop of water a rounded sweetness of apple biscuit emerges, the heavier, more astringent part tames itself and becomes very drinkable.
F: light but not short, still orange and that touch of wood.
Ben Nevis, which has recently been climbing the list of our fetish distilleries by leaps and bounds, is always interesting and never dull, and in this case it proves to be exactly that. Of course, he is a child. So you can’t ask for finesse and depth. One wonders what it could have become with a few more years of (robust) ageing. But no more ifs and buts: we enjoy a malt that is extremely ready for its age, intense and with character. And – a very important quality for us youngsters of today, children of the precariat – also at a mouth-watering price: 84/100. On sale online, among other sites, at Whiskyitaly.
Recommended soundtrack: Ludwig Van Beethoven – Sinfonia n. 9. But in Sepultura’s version…